What can the Valley expect from the Great American Eclipse?

The Great American Eclipse will happen on Aug. 21 at 1 p.m.

The Great American Eclipse will happen three weeks from now on Aug. 21. But what does that mean for those of us in the Valley?


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Great American Eclipse will happen on Monday, Aug. 21.

But what does that mean for those of us in the Valley?

“The sun is the largest thing in the solar system, obviously,” said Curt Spivey, engineer at the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State. “The moon is one-fifth the size of the earth.”

And the sun is 109-times the size of the earth.

But even on that scale — with the three planets — something crazy is going to happen in a few weeks: For a few hours, the exact timing and alignment will be just right so the moon will block out the sun.

It’s actually so rare, this type of event hasn’t happened coast to coast in 109 years.

So here’s what you will see on that Monday.

Starting after 1 p.m., you will begin to see the sky darken. Then at 2:30 p.m., the sunlight will be blocked by 80 percent. After that, the sky will begin to brighten and will be back to normal at 4 p.m.

The whole eclipse will last just under three hours. But if you aren’t prepared with the right eye protection, don’t try to look up at the eclipse at all.

“You can literally burn out the cells at the back of your eye, which is called a retina,” Spivey said. “Even at 20 percent, that still is an intense bright.”

If you want to see the total eclipse but can’t make it south, all you have to do it wait seven more years.

“Our big one comes on April 8, 2024, when there will be another total solar eclipse,” Spivey said. “But that totality will pass right over Newton Falls, so that’s the one we’re gearing up for.”

For this eclipse, if you want to see the event through a telescope with proper eye protection, the Ward Beecher Planetarium will be at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm from 1 to 4 p.m.

The farm is located at 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Rd. in Canfield.

The entire event will be open to the public.

For more information, call the Ward Beecher Planetarium at 330-941-1370 or contact Spivey at clspivey@ysu.edu.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that the Ward Beecher Planetarium will be at the Mill Creek Metro Farm, not the Canfield Fair, as previously reported. WKBN regrets the error. 

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